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  • Mithila Malaviya


Updated: May 1

“...a long nose, thin. Moving on to the lips, if only I had a good enough pair”, said Hazel to herself as she tried to balance the charcoal-scribbled book on her lap. Carefully tracing the details of her own face, Hazel accidentally left greasy charcoal marks at several spots. She was too engrossed in her self portrait to clean them up. Her hair was neatly tied up in a bun. It was the only way she knew she could focus. Her inquisitive eyes, that wanted to capture every little detail possible so she could achieve the perfect drawing, did not stop. Perched on a carved wooden stool that her mother probably got from the nearby thrift store, Hazel was unaware of everything around her. Her surroundings had faded away. She was so focused that she had even missed the chip at the top right corner of the mirror she was staring at so passionately. She even missed the heaviness of the bleak colours in the room - sap green carpet, mahogany wood, plum curtains and the dim lights. Her mother had decorated the room just after she had divorced the no-good husband and father. Hazel did not think much of him, neither did her mother anymore.

One lamp, one window, one Hazel. The only sources of light in the room came from Hazel’s white dress, her book and the twinkle in her eyes. The dimly lit room was mostly empty. Just the mahogany dresser, the chipped mirror and Hazel’s stool. The misshapen doll was a new acquisition from the playground. Teal dress, red haired and a broken shoe Hazel’s new friend did not have a name yet. A commonly forgotten friend. Even though Hazel’s beady, twinkly eyes were frantically running around the length of her circular ears now, there was a calmness in the room. Her thin lips pursed as she tried to get her rosy cheeks perfect with charcoal on paper. The cat, momentarily purring, had made an entrance. Walking straight to the golden window, Fergusson moved his tail back and forth.

Fergusson, unlike the unnamed new friend, was an old one. He was there when Hazel turned five. He was there when she wanted to hear his purrs over her parents fighting. He was there when she learnt how to tie her shoelaces. He was there when her mom was beaten in the next room.


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